Tuesday 8-12s
house of muchness
2020 TERM 1 Project Showcase
OFFIS OF THE PUBLIC GOOD

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ABOUT:
 

The Offis of the Public Good is a Guvernment Agency run by young people. It is a playful social intervention in which children reward the adult population for tiny small acts; a ‘caught you doing something good’, in a powerful reversal of social structures and power paradigms. The Offis of the Public Good is an office headquarters in which young people operate a government style bureaucratic red tape system, but this time with a surprising shift of tone. In a subversion of societally accepted and expected norms and roles, young people will be the ones doling out the praise and adults will be on the receiving end.

 

At the Offis, they are busily working away at desks, on typewriters, answering phones, shuffling papers, latching briefcases, sorting between in-trays and out-trays - an artistic performance of an "Offis". They wear an overwhelming amount of navy and shades of brown. But it is the content that comprises these ordinary, civic processes that brings delight. They are working their way through the steps of a nomination model. They can nominate directly, or distribute forms to friends, peers, family members to nominate others.

 

Each time a nomination comes in for an adult who’s done a good small thing, there’s a process full of glorious red tape. Papers go from table to table, checked and stamped and signed, and re-checked and re-stamped and re-signed. And then, green light, a phone call, a hooray, streamers go off, a certificate is sent. It is a transaction of sincere appreciation and congratulations between an adult who just went about life and a young person who said well done. 

 

The actions won’t be remarkable. They’ll be ordinary. They’re the boring, everyday things we get right without fanfare. But this time WITH the pomp and ceremony. It doesn’t make the news, it might make someone’s day. It's like a 1% version of Australian of the Year. 

THE SHOWING:

 

For the end of term showing, family members were going to be invited in as Bring a Parent to Work Day - and under that guise would bear witness to the Offis in action. Everyone had different jobs. The process went like this:

  • Post received. Bell rung.

  • Nominations get transported desk to desk by the Chief Coffee Carter (also gives out tea and biscuits)

  • Nomination went to signer 1, then signer 2

  • Double signed nomination went to stamper 1 (Checked), then stamper 2 (Approved)

  • Chief Announcer declared “Nomination for (name) has been approved!!”

  • Chief Announcer adds details to tally chart on pinboard

  • Event planners take out the celebration paraphernalia and deck the space in Congratulations signage, bunting, maracas, leis, tambourines etc

  • Everyone assembles around one of the two Chief Phone Callers

  • Congratulations phone call is made. Postal address is asked for to send certificate.

  • Chief Form Filler Outerer takes down all the postal details and completes certificate.

  • Certificate is taken from desk to desk to signer 1, signer 2, stamper 1, stamper 2

  • Completed certificate arrives at desk of Envelope Designer/Poster and Chief Decorator. Postage stamp is added. Certificate is sealed and put in out-tray

  • Repeat

  • There was also to be an Anonymous Noms section (for strangers; no known names or contact details;) which would be pinned to the pinboard

  • There was also an Offis song

  • There was also an Offis dance

 

They did so brilliantly at this material! They were outstanding at their efficiency/productivity/industry/office antics, over the top-ness, busy bees, full of ideas, full of beans, full of fullness!

EXAMPLES OF ADULT ACTIONS THAT MIGHT MERIT A NOMINATION:

  • returning library books on time

  • parking for the right amount of time

  • mowing a bit of your neighbour's lawn

  • making/buying groceries for someone

  • giving the next person some of your paid parking

  • letting someone with a small amount of shopping go in front of you 

  • helping someone with a job

  • picking up someone's else rubbish

  • using a keep cup regularly/cloth bags eg picking up a new good habit

click here to view the other projects in the 

2020 TERM 1 Project Showcase